A cheerful heart is a good medicine. — Proverbs 17:22
I was pondering on these words when one of my college friends, Kat Soriano, told me about the current health condition of our friend Catherine “Betti” Sanchez, one of the funniest and strongest persons that I know whose cheerfulness has always been contagious.
She was 15 years old when Betti was diagnosed with Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP), a rare condition that causes an inflammation of the blood vessels which usually occurs in the skin, intestines, and kidneys. She grew up not being able to attend her prom, field trips, retreats, and even her high school graduation.
She started to undergo kidney dialysis when she was 17. She quickly recovered and she attended college like a normal teen does. But at 18, her condition worsened and the doctor advised her to have a kidney transplant. Dialysis helped stabilize the kidney and temporarily flushed the toxins out of the bloodstream, but it did not offer cure.
In 2000, Betti had her much needed kidney transplant. Luckily, her brother’s kidney was a perfect match. All these occurred in college at the College of the Holy Spirit while taking up Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design. She often missed her classes and attended school irregularly. She was our classmate and we became friends. She added color to our group with her creative sense of humor. I have admired her since then.
For the past 12 years, Betti has been dependent on immunosuppressant drugs to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ. But the side effects of the drugs lowered her immune system. She never had any serious symptoms though, just the occasional cough or colds which she is prone to. She has been working as a freelance artist since graduating from college.
In March 2012, Betti fell ill again and was rushed to the hospital for having elevated in her blood creatinine — a toxin that is supposed to be flushed out by the body, but with a dysfunctional kidney, its levels escalate in the blood, weakening her kidney. She had a couple of minor surgeries since then and has been undergoing dialysis for her kidney. But frequent dialysis is costly and traumatic to the body. The doctor administered a huge dose of a strong immunosuppressant. Her weekly bill at the National Kidney Center amounts to around R300,000. Currently, Betti’s recorded creatinine levels are still way above normal and a second kidney transplant is the only option. But that would not be possible yet until they have raised enough money for it — R1.5 million, more or less.
CARRYING THE CROSS
In such a situation, a feeling of helplessness is felt, but then resourcefulness also sets in. Betti used her creativity in art, with a mix her own sense of humor, in her predicament; thus, “Hello Kidney and Friends Campaign” was born.
Hello Kidney and Friends is a movement which aims to raise funds for Betti’s second kidney transplant by selling shirts that she personally designed.
“I designed it and my friends approved, because they have no choice but to approve it,” Betty quipped.
Ever since her illness recurred, there has been an outpouring of support from everyone she knows, even strangers and people who read her blog are so supportive. She has been keeping a blog since 2007, mostly writing about funny stuffs. She can find humor in even the most insignificant thing. I believe that she will get through it all in her most amazing ways.
Betti blogs, “Being sick doesn’t give me an excuse to be sad coz’ God is really great. You know that cliché that God would be with you during your trials and that He would carry the cross with you? That is so true!”
Betti’s unwavering faith in God has always been intact. She can still see that God has not only given her exceeding hope, a stronger support and love not only from everyone, including strangers who have been lending their helping hands and hearts. “Amidst all these uncertainties, my heart is full of hope and genuine happiness. I believe this is God’s way to make me feel that He is with me, Always,” Betti adds.
Let us support Betti Sanchez and buy a shirt for R500 in three different designs to choose from. Visit Hello Kidney and Friends page on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org